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Jim MullinsIt is never easy to have something you have enjoyed doing for so many years come to an end; however, all things do. It has been a remarkable thirteen and a half years. Purdue University has been my “perfect storm”, not in the traditional, negative connotation, rather in the most positive coming together of opportunities that enabled the Libraries to further define and refine its role within Purdue University.

When I arrived, Purdue Libraries, as all research libraries were doing in the early 21st century, was on the cusp of making the final transition from a print dominated world to a digital one. Processes and practices important in the past were becoming obsolete. As the world moved more toward a digital environment, Libraries had to make that transition as well to take advantage of the new mode of communication, and adapt its role to make it most beneficial and effective for students and faculty alike.

No single person, not even a dean, can chart or determine the vision for an organization such as Purdue Libraries. It is a joint endeavor. During my time at Purdue, I have had remarkable colleagues within the Libraries administration, its faculty and staff who have made the Purdue Libraries one of the most innovative and creative research libraries in the United States, and some would say, the world. The support given to Purdue Libraries by the University administration and Purdue Trustees has been key to allowing Libraries to achieve the level of recognition within the research library community that Purdue University has in the academic arena. As one long-time supporter of the Libraries, former Purdue Trustee John Hardin would say, “You can’t have a great university without a great library.” No truer statement has ever been made.

Finally I want to note with great appreciation the work of the Dean’s Advisory Council comprised of Purdue alumni and friends whose support throughout these years has meant so much. Under the leadership of Larry Hiler, the DAC made commitments to raise funds and support initiatives within Libraries that have helped make it what the Libraries are today.

I depart at the end of 2017 knowing that Purdue Libraries is poised for its next level of greatness through the leadership of the next Dean of Libraries.

Hail Purdue and Boiler Up!
James L. Mullins
Dean of Libraries and Esther Ellis Norton Professor
2004 - 2017



Jim Mullins 2004Dean of Purdue University Libraries James L. Mullins will retire on December 31, 2017. Jim has served as the dean of Purdue University Libraries since his arrival on July 1, 2004. He came to Purdue from MIT Libraries, where he was associate director for administration. Prior to MIT, he held senior administrative positions at Indiana University and Villanova University.

During his tenure at Purdue, Jim’s leadership propelled Purdue Libraries to the forefront of academic and research library innovation, and he strengthened Purdue Libraries in all areas; championed the active-learning concept on campus; and established the W. Wayne Booker Endowed Chair in Information Literacy, a first of its kind in higher education, in Purdue Libraries. Additionally, he was integral in establishing the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR), the Libraries Scholarly Publishing Services Division to advance scholarly communication, and the Distributed Data Curation Center in the Libraries’ Research Data unit.

In late September, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels announced that the Reading Room in the new Thomas S. and Harvey D. Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) is named after Jim, who played an integral role in envisioning and designing the new building.

“Jim Mullins has dedicated his life to serving students and transforming and improving the way we educate them. It is truly fitting for his name to forever be a part of something as innovative as the Wilmeth Active Learning Center,” Daniels noted.

Jim Mullins 2006The Mullins Reading Room is among the many now well-used study spaces in the innovative new building, which opened in August 2017. The WALC — home of the Library of Engineering and Science and 27 active-learning classrooms — marries library and classroom space in a first-of-its-kind structure and is situated in the heart of the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

“Due to Jim’s vision and pioneering work, Purdue Libraries is internationally recognized as a creative and visionary leader in the academic and research library profession,” said D. Scott Brandt, interim associate dean for research, Purdue Libraries.

Jim has served in leadership roles within the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, and the International Federation of Library Associations. In 2016, Mullins received the prestigious Hugh A. Atkinson Award from the American Library Association in recognition of his outstanding leadership and his many contributions to research libraries. In 2017, he was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award in Information and Library Science by the School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University.
During his tenure, Purdue University Libraries received the 2015 University Library Excellence Award by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Jim earned B.A. degrees in religion, history, and political science and his M.A.L.S. degree from the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. from Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing (formerly the School of Library and Information Science).

Comments from Jim’s Colleagues

  • JIm Mullins 2011I love how every time Jim speaks, something funny comes out. Otherwise, I appreciate the commitment he has shown to the Purdue University Press. – Kelley Kimm
  • I count myself among the many library science students and early-career professionals who have benefitted from Jim’s mentorship and sage guidance. His impact goes far beyond Purdue to helping shape the future of the library profession through both his scholarship and the time that he has generously spent in meeting with and advising hundreds, if not thousands, of students and librarians over the years. – Michael Witt
  • When I think of Purdue University Libraries, I can’t help but think of Jim. Libraries has been fortunate to have great leadership over the last 40 years but I must say that Jim’s contributions to Libraries and the university have had a major impact on how libraries are viewed not only across our campus but around the world. I appreciated the kindness and thoughtfulness with which he treated our Libraries staff, always looking out for us and doing his best to see that we were treated equally across campus. Thank you, Jim, for your dedication to Purdue Libraries and its staff. Ever grateful! – Teresa Brown
  • Jim's leadership in the Libraries and his unfailing support of the Scholarly Publishing Division is inspirational. I will miss his kindness, patience and good humor. Additionally, his name can be found on my list of favorite book editors! – Katherine Purple
  • I was apprehensive about taking on the role of associate dean for research in 2005, but Jim convinced me that I “have the personality for it.” However, it still took a lot of conferring with him as we embarked on a journey to explore interdisciplinary collaborations and data management. Jim has always been generous when I asked for advice, which I did a lot those first few years. We went to NSF together in early 2006, and spoke at a lot of venues those first couple of years about what we were doing. I was hesitant at first because we were still exploring things, but he correctly identified that people wanted to hear about HOW we were doing things, as well as WHAT we were doing. I thank him for his mentorship, and his leadership in helping to build what people all over the world refer to as “the Purdue model.” – Scott
  • Jim Mullins ARL AwardI was on the job about 9 or 10 months when Jim arrived at Purdue in 2004. One of the first things he asked after starting as our dean was "Do we have an Archives?" (Immediate props for not saying "Archive"...)
    Well, I'm not sure we did, not really, at that time. We certainly do now. Jim has been a champion for the ASC, leading far-reaching initiatives such as the creation of the Butler Women's Archives, the Psychoactive Substances Research Collection, and the Hilton Flight and Space Archives. As a result of his work, the University recognized ASC's role as the official repository for collecting and preserving Purdue's historical records. Jim's support for ASC meant increasing the staffing from 2 professionals to 10, the ability to strategically acquire high profile collections, and a rapidly growing donor base with accompanying resources. We were able to move into a beautiful newly renovated and more secure and accessible location while quickly growing a national reputation among researchers for high quality unique collections made available online in e-Archives.
    Although Purdue's first professional Archivist position was created a year before he arrived, under Dean Mobley, Jim has always been supportive of our work in ASC, while balancing our needs fairly alongside those of other rapidly growing areas across the rest of the Libraries. 
    For these reasons, I consider Jim to be the true founder of the Archives, and I will forever be grateful for his vision, his encouragement, and the faith he placed in a (relatively) young Archivist at the time, one who was often stressed out by seeking to grow and professionalize the Archives and seek tenure at the same time. It has meant everything to my success and the success of ASC. I will forever be thankful for all I have learned under Jim's guidance. Perhaps the most important lesson he has taught me is the need to be a confident and optimistic leader, to always state my case clearly (a good storJim Mullins Staff Award 2017y never hurts) while generating excitement about the future. Although I will miss Jim, I'm happy to say that the foundation he has built at Purdue is strong and I have no doubt the Libraries will continue to flourish in the coming decades. – Sammie Morris
  • Through Jim’s leadership Purdue Libraries has been elevated to a level which has garnered more respect on campus, in the U.S. and the world. We have many wonderful updated facilities and new ones, thanks to his leadership. I hope he can leave campus knowing he has received an A+ for effort! May his retirement be full of relaxation and happiness, along with a dash of new challenges, to keep things interesting! All the best to him and Kathy on their next journey in life! – Mary Sego
  • I am really thankful for Jim’s leadership at the Purdue Libraries. His leadership has tremendously helped the Purdue Libraries be ahead in many areas and has given Purdue Libraries a special place in the university as a whole. Even in adverse times, he was able to prove the Libraries' importance in the academic area. The building of the Wilmeth Active learning center was certainly a big feat. The concept has certainly introduced a new outlook and a great value to our students. Without his guidance, this would never have been possible. I wish him all the best in retirement and value his many years of tireless service to the Purdue Libraries. His kindness will always be remembered. – Anna Subramaniam
  • While I have not had the benefit nor the pleasure of working with Jim for many years, I have had almost the entire year of Jim’s final year at Purdue Libraries and, for that, I am grateful. I have learned much and have been proud to help highlight the tremendous accomplishment that the Wilmeth Active Learning Center is at Purdue University.  – Teresa Koltzenburg
  • I remember being part of the Dean Search committee, reading Jim’s bio, meeting him during the interview processes and then congratulating him when he was offered the position as Dean of Purdue Libraries. Now, here I am again, but this time I want to congratulate Jim on his retirement! May all his future adventures be as great as his one at Purdue!  Angie Ewing
  • Jim’s presence will be missed by many, but his legacy is forever. Thank you! Best wishes Jim.–Connie Richards, ILL
  • Jim Mullins WALC 2017I remember speaking with Jim about his driving to and fro from the Detroit area. He mentioned the speed at which he traveled...! Then, one time, he was surprised that I liked old cars, as he did and he asked me why. I responded I also had driven a ’69 Camaro in the early 1970s and grew up with the car culture and customizing cars. Also, I will always remember him fondly for his conversations and especially, his story telling! Also, I always found his ability to argue two or several points of view within the same meeting—always refreshing and quite revealing of his wonderful intellectual acuity. It was an honor to have him as Dean! – Jean-Pierre V.M. Hérubel
  • I remember when Dean Mullins celebrated his 10th anniversary year. It was also my anniversary year and he commented on how long I had been here in a VERY complimentary manner. He has always remembered my name and never failed to remind me that I am important to the Libraries by simply noticing if I was absent from an event. This meant a lot to me as I know he has many people/things/ideas to keep track of and I, although not important compared to his duties, felt important because of his courtesy. I will miss his reminiscence and his wit, but I will be glad to know that he and his are doing well in the next phase of his life/career. Fondest wishes, heartfelt prayers and blessing for his future. – Lil Conarroe
  • I’d just like to say that I’m thankful for Jim’s leadership. He’s done great things for me and for Purdue. – Michael Flierl
  • Jim Mullins, A Purdue Icon bookI will not forget Jim’s PowerPoint presentations for the WALC when it was a mere twinkle in his eye. Showing how the view would be lovely from the “Mullins” reading room that he didn’t know would be named in his honor back then! Always encouraging people to take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes. – Dean Lingley
  • I will miss Jim’s funny stories and great laugh! Best wishes for his retirement – he will be missed! – Lindsey Organ.
  • One incident I remember that reminds me of Jim’s vision and agency is when we were asking members of the Libraries to draw ‘their ideal work environment’ as part of planning for the WALC. Jim drew a picture of his current office setup, explaining the rationale for how everything was placed, including how visitors entered and left his office. I had no idea he had thought so deeply about the elements of his workspace, and I had a renewed appreciation for his attention to detail. On a lighter note, one of my first memories of Jim was when I met him to tour the AVTECH library shortly after he arrived on campus.  Charlotte and I are standing in front of the terminal, wondering where the Dean is, and this person comes zipping by, in his Saab convertible, with his tie flapping in the breeze, reminding us of the classic car commercial where the person is picking from a collection of frayed ties…cutting to them driving in their convertibles. Of course, it turns out to be Jim, epitomizing the energy he brought to the Libraries. – Michael Fosmire
  • Jim Mullins 2017Jim has been a guiding force in the Purdue Libraries. We owe a lot to his intelligence, experience, and tenacity. Like many candidates, Jim was my first interview and gave me a good understanding of the Libraries and its structure. It was also the first time I was able to enjoy one of his many stories. In fact, that is probably what I will remember most about Jim is his wonderful stories drawn from a life time of experiences and his ability to tell them well. Some were from his early life on a farm in Iowa, others from his experiences coming up through the ranks of the libraries at the various universities. All of them were interesting, informative. Some were just for conversation, though usually they had a point that he was trying to illustrate. He was always passionate when talking about our libraries. I remember once, just after I started, we were at a meeting to discuss the long term plans for the campus and the role of the Libraries.  After a request for a history of the WALC, Jim asked how long we had. When they replied 45 minutes, he said with a smile, he thought that might just be enough. I am very fortunate to work with Jim, though for too short a time, and be a small part of his vision for the WALC and all of the Purdue Libraries.  I wish him the very best in his retirement and hope that he will continue to tell his wonderful stories. – Nanette Andersson


Several Purdue University students showed the many reasons why they love Purdue Libraries in the Purdue University Libraries’ fifth “Why I Love Purdue Libraries” video contest. This fall, we added a twist to the contest theme and asked students to produce video entries that show why they love the newly opened Purdue Libraries’ Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC), home of the Library of Engineering and Science.

The contest – which was announced in Fall 2017 and is supported by the Purdue Federal Credit Union – was open to Purdue students and 24 entries were received for the competition. All entries were judged by members of the Undergraduate Student Libraries Advisory Council.

Four videos – first, second, and two videos for a third-place tie – were selected as winners of the first $1,000 prize, second $750 prize, and third $500 prize. Five students produced the videos. They include:

  • First Place Cole Griffin, senior, industrial engineering major, and Anna Magner, junior, selling and sales management major: each will receive half of the $1,000
  • Second PlaceJake Heidecker, sophomore, finance and supply chain management double major: $750
  • Third Place Tie Jason Kelly, freshman, engineering major, and Matt Schnelker, senior, computer information technology major; each will receive $500.

View the winning videos on the “Why I Love Purdue Libraries’ WALC” Fall 2017 Video Contest YouTube Playlist at www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfiLH31ZZsO136sTrEir-exeiBi1X30wI

Video contest winners fall 2017

The winners joined Dean of Libraries Jim Mullins and Purdue Federal Credit Union (PFCU) Vice President Jeff Love for a special presentation of their awards in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, Library of Engineering and Science. Pictured, L to R, are: Anna Magner, Cole Griffin, Jeff Love, Jim Mullins, Jake Heidecker, Jason Kelly, and Matt Schnelker.



Pat MillerAfter 20 years in the Purdue University Libraries, Pat Miller, Life Sciences Library assistant retired on November 27, 2017.

Since 1997, Pat has participated on many circulation and reserves related teams (CRT, CDG, ALMA, FSWG, to name a few) and invested significant time and energy in her role as student supervisor. She established strong working relationships with faculty and staff in the departments served by the Life Sciences Library, especially those for whom she handled reserves materials. Pat’s efforts ensured materials were available for students when needed and that faculty were kept well-informed about reserve usage statistics.

Pat was an excellent student supervisor and Life Sciences Library student staff were well-trained, independent, and confident in their roles. Pat had a knack for selecting students who worked well together, provided excellent customer service, and supported the library staff and faculty in our division goals.

Especially in 2016-17, Pat’s aptitude for hiring and training students was evidenced as we relied heavily on our student staff to assist in the pulling and packing of thousands of materials being moved from the library. Many of Pat’s student hires have continued on with us in the Library of Engineering and Science this fall and we thank her for her contributions that have assured our continued excellence in customer service in our new library.

As a retiree, Pat will continue to have access to her work email, patri@purdue.edu, and I am certain she would appreciate hearing from those of you who worked with her.

Thank you, Pat, for your years of positive impacts on the Life Sciences Library patrons, student staff, coworkers, faculty, and departments served by the library. We wish you well in your retirement.



The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library and I had the privilege of visiting this library recently. The library has a huge collection of more than 164 million items and 838 miles of bookshelves. Besides housing books from Thomas Jefferson’s original collection, the Library supports research in the Main Reading Room and specialty reading rooms, archives millions of priceless objects and creates exhibitions that explore historic and cultural themes. 

The history surrounding the establishment of Library of Congress is one of its most interesting aspects. The Library of Congress was originally established in 1800 and then destroyed by invading British troops in the War of 1814. This library’s collection was replaced by Thomas Jefferson in 1815 after Congress approved purchasing his private collection, which laid the foundation for a national library. Similarly, as outlined in Purdue University Library History by David Hovde, the core of Purdue’s Library began as a collection, which was purchased from Purdue’s first president, Richard Owen, who sold his collection to the University.

Working in the Purdue Libraries the last several years, has given me a greater appreciation of the impact libraries have in our world. Being able to visit this magnificent library was an experience that will be treasured in our family. When visiting the Washington D.C. area, the Library of Congress is a must see!

Library of Congress building Library of Congress readingroomLibrary of Congress Jefferson Library


Ashley HutchcraftAshley Hutchcraft’s name was randomly drawn from all those who were SMILED upon in November. She received a $25 Von’s Book Shop gift certificate.

All faculty, administration and staff are invited to send a note of appreciation for a kindness or thoughtfulness given, assistance provided to or by a Libraries, Press or Copyright Office colleague.

To learn more about how to participate in our SMILE Program, please visit and bookmark this page on the Libraries intranet: http://intranet.lib.purdue.edu/display/HR/SMILE+Program/


HSSE Staff Explores Mysterious Space
By Kay Schurr

At a HSSE staff meeting recently, we ventured to the area of the original library wall and the present Stewart Center walls. We took the original library picture that hangs in HSSE Conference room from 1933 with us. Even the oldest staff did NOT know this was possible or even accessible to view the original library entrance. The following quote says it well, “A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.” – Shelby Foote. 

HSSE Library Staff and Stewart Center Wall

Pictured Left to Right Front Row: Trevor Burrows, Candy Sheagley, Audrey Grisham, Emily Little. Back Row: Rae Lynn Boes, Emily Branson, Pat Whalen, Kay Schurr.







You will notice the use of these icons before the article that are symbolic of our Libraries strategic goals.

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION: We enhance the spectrum of scholarly communication from discovery to delivery through the provision of information resources, services, research, partnerships, and national and international leadership. We advocate the change in scholarly communication to promote economic sustainability, effective use of copyright, and open access to knowledge for all.

ENGAGEMENT AND EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES:We commit our resources and expertise in Library, Information, and Archival Sciences to advance the profession and contribute to the welfare and economic development of the citizens and state of Indiana, the nation, and the world.

LEARNING:We contribute to student success and lifelong learning through innovative educational practices. Our research-based information literacy programming empowers Purdue's diverse communities of learners to use information critically to learn and to create new knowledge. Our learning spaces, both virtual and physical, align with evolving curricula and student learning needs.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Libraries staff working together to enhance the users experience, raise awareness of Purdue Libraries and recognize the continued learning and successes of our staff.





New Staff

  • Carl Burgeson, Libraries Facilities



Carly Dearborn is celebrating 5 years at Purdue.



Jim Mullins Retirement Reception
December 15
3-5 p.m.
Mullins Reading Room

Purdue University Winter Break
December 23-January 2, 2018
Refer to Libraries website for hours:



Bert Chapman presented “Air University Information Resources:  Aerospace Power, Military History, Geopolitics, and Professional Military Education for the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s FDLP Academy webinar series. Nov. 15, 2017.



Library Journal, November 28
A Sense of Play at Work | Year in Architecture 2017
Library of Engineering and Science, Wilmeth Active Learning Center

Purdue Today, December 8
Trustees approve professorships, endowed positions, program transfer, posthumous degree, resolutions
James L. Mullins



Submit your LINK Letter here



Submit your SMILE nomination here



Holiday Hot Spinach Dip
Visit the Libraries Intranet



Copy for the January 17 issue is due by noon, December 16. Send to tmabrown@purdue.edu